Jessica Merritt from Special Liberty Project presented the program at the Feb. 1 meeting.

The organization’s mission is to foster and maintain a supportive community focused on nurturing Gold Star Families and healing veterans by connecting with nature. SPL has served more than 500 veterans and families since its founding in 2016. Merritt’s husband, Cory, retired from the US Navy in 2020. They offer retreats and monthly programs for veterans and veteran spouses on their farm in Macon County.

Merritt said the retreats have created profound experiences and help veterans or widows connect with others who can understand what they are going through.

They offer four types of retreats:

  • Healing Veterans – a monthly program connecting veterans with each other and with nature while improving their quality of life.
  • Healing with Horses – a monthly equine-based program for veteran spouses.
  • Nature Retreats – nature-based wellness retreats for Gold Star widows and Gold Star mothers to help them adjust and thrive as they live their lives after trauma or loss.
  • Mini acts of kindness – a way to connect with veterans and veterans’ families who cannot come to the farm due to various limitations. The Merritt’s 12-year-old daughter helps with this program and completed training with a miniature horse to provide therapeutic visits.

Special Liberty Project is a 501(c)3. Donations are welcome and volunteer opportunities are available.

For more information about Special Liberty Project, visit their website